Now that you are starting divorce proceedings, every life in your household is about to change, and your children may fear what the future will look like. At this point in your relationship with your soon-to-be-ex spouse, the only thing you may agree on is making the transition from your current marital living arrangements to your divorced living arrangements less stressful for your children.

The two of you decide that you can temporarily put aside your feelings for each other in order to create a parenting plan that meets that goal. You are willing to be realistic, and you know that there is no way the two of you can communicate with each other the way required by co-parenting. You need another option.

Enter parallel parenting

Perhaps one of the reasons you decided to divorce is because you and your spouse could not keep your conflicts away from your children. You know that they will be better off not having to live in an atmosphere where you and the other parent cannot even have a civil conversation. This makes parallel parenting a viable option in your case since it limits contact with the other parent as much as possible. In fact, the only communication you will have is in regard to the children.

Below are some of the essential elements of this type of parenting plan, which you and the other parent will strictly adhere to in order for it to work:

  • Creating a specific parenting time schedule
  • Choosing a location for drop-offs and pick-ups, usually in a public place
  • Identifying specific visitation start and end times
  • Determining how to handle any cancellations
  • Deciding how to make up any missed visits
  • Setting up rules regarding necessary communications between you and the other parent
  • Creating a plan for resolving any conflicts that may arise

As much of a challenge as it may be to sit down and work out a parallel parenting plan, the time you spend carefully negotiating and working it out will pay off later. In fact, the plan may work so well that the two of you will eventually move past your differences and slowly add in more communication as time goes on.

Even if that doesn’t happen, you may relax into a routine in which the two of you, and especially your children, can thrive and happily move forward with your lives.